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Old 05-31-2019, 09:04 PM
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schneidan schneidan is offline
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Default NGD thrift store bass find

I've been thinking about getting a bass to occasionally play with bluegrass and such...stumbled across this 1996 Fender Squier Jazz Bass at a thrift store for $50! Of course next stop was a nearby pawn shop for a practice amp and cord... aside from the action being a little low, it sounds great. Bet it will sound even better when I put some flatwound strings on it.

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Old 05-31-2019, 09:23 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Originally Posted by schneidan View Post
I've been thinking about getting a bass to occasionally play with bluegrass and such...stumbled across this 1996 Fender Squier Jazz Bass at a thrift store for $50! Of course next stop was a nearby pawn shop for a practice amp and cord... aside from the action being a little low, it sounds great. Bet it will sound even better when I put some flatwound strings on it.

Attachment 23263
Very cool. The bass player in one of the bands I lead is also a veteran pawn shop and thrift store shopper. He does much better at that than I do; he finds good stuff, while all I ever seem to run across is overpriced, barely playable crap that I have no interest in buying.

Once in a very great while Iíll luck upon something exceptional, but most of what I see in those settings is borderline pathetic...


whm
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:16 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by schneidan View Post
...aside from the action being a little low, it sounds great. Bet it will sound even better when I put some flatwound strings on it...
- and the heaviest your instrument/fingers can handle, if you're going to be playing in a bluegrass band and want that deep upright-style fundamental. Don't know if your bass can handle it (check with your tech), but I've been using the LaBella 0760M "James Jamerson" set (52-110) on my '90 Pedulla for over twenty years with good results - gives some real weight to the factory (passive) P/J Bartolini PU's, and provides a nice balance of depth and clarity that blends well with acoustic instruments. Only caveat is that TMK they're the heaviest strings on the market - guaranteed to raise the action simply by installing them (or you can have your tech drop the action extremely low if you have a light touch, without buzzing - an old jazz players' trick from the '50s/60s) - just make sure the neck can take it; if they're too much to handle, the 760FM 49-109 set provides similar response with somewhat reduced tension - easier on both your neck and hands...

Good luck - use it well, often and LOUD...
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Very cool. The bass player in one of the bands I lead is also a veteran pawn shop and thrift store shopper. He does much better at that than I do; he finds good stuff, while all I ever seem to run across is overpriced, barely playable crap that I have no interest in buying.



Once in a very great while Iíll luck upon something exceptional, but most of what I see in those settings is borderline pathetic...

It's definitely a labor of love -- I've been regularly visiting thrift stores for nearly 30 years, and for every gem I find I pass one 30, 40, 50 more. Not just instruments (this is the first I've ever bought at a thrift store), but cameras, clothing, dishes, whatever. Personally I just enjoy the thrill of the hunt and finding the occasionally great deal. Most of what i see is as you say - unplayable crap. Like the Washburn mandolin I saw today with about a 1" action at the 12th fret!
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
- and the heaviest your instrument/fingers can handle, if you're going to be playing in a bluegrass band and want that deep upright-style fundamental. Don't know if your bass can handle it (check with your tech), but I've been using the LaBella 0760M "James Jamerson" set (52-110) on my '90 Pedulla for over twenty years with good results - gives some real weight to the factory (passive) P/J Bartolini PU's, and provides a nice balance of depth and clarity that blends well with acoustic instruments. Only caveat is that TMK they're the heaviest strings on the market - guaranteed to raise the action simply by installing them (or you can have your tech drop the action extremely low if you have a light touch, without buzzing - an old jazz players' trick from the '50s/60s) - just make sure the neck can take it; if they're too much to handle, the 760FM 49-109 set provides similar response with somewhat reduced tension - easier on both your neck and hands...



Good luck - use it well, often and LOUD...


I am definitely all about the heavy strings, but not so knowledgeable about bass to know all the little details. I ordered a set of Rotosound 50-110 flatwounds earlier today and we'll see if they sound better -- his thing appears to still have the factory roundwounds on it. I'm not likely to pay a tech to do anything to a $50 bass I'll mostly be toying with, but I did already raise the bridge a bit and that seems to have taken care of the buzz I was getting. The neck homely looks like it could use a little more relief, so I'm counting on the heavy strings to help with that, even if I have to lower the bridge again a bit. I don't have a particularly light touch, but not too heavy either. For now I found a 15W Behringer Thunder-something amp that doesn't get all that loud, but it will do for practice and playing with a few acoustic instruments I think.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:01 PM
J. Scott J. Scott is offline
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I highly recommend La Bella Low Tension Flats (LTF's). They have a real nice Flatwound thump after break in. I keep then on a thin neck Carvin bass, no damage what so ever.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:50 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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What's with the green bridge/saddle?
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:41 AM
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What's with the green bridge/saddle?


That's a bit of pool noodle I cut off to try out as a mute. I'll be looking for something less conspicuous to replace it!
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:42 AM
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Erithon Erithon is offline
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What's with the green bridge/saddle?
It's not a saddle (that's the silver you see below it--all part of the bridge), but a piece of foam. It dampens the strings and gives them more of that double bass thud. In addition to the flatwound strings schneidan mentioned, I imagine this contributes to achieving the double bass bluegrass tone he's after.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Erithon View Post
It's not a saddle (that's the silver you see below it--all part of the bridge), but a piece of foam. It dampens the strings and gives them more of that double bass thud. In addition to the flatwound strings schneidan mentioned, I imagine this contributes to achieving the double bass bluegrass tone he's after.


It's getting there, for sure, with the heavy flatwounds. I think a stiffer foam would help, though, and probably positioning it further up toward the bridge pickup.

Any suggestions for sources of cheap, think, heavy, black foam welcome!
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:13 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Thereís a piece of specialized musical equipment that can help tone down the vivid swimming pool green foam youíve got there: itís called a black Sharpie marker! Very technical stuff, requiring years of training and supervised simulator experience before youíll be allowed to deploy one in real life...

Seriously, a few strokes of a black Sharpie and your Surf Green foam insert will become suitably solemn and serious and less of a visual distraction.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:21 AM
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schneidan schneidan is offline
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Thereís a piece of specialized musical equipment that can help tone down the vivid swimming pool green foam youíve got there: itís called a black Sharpie marker! Very technical stuff, requiring years of training and supervised simulator experience before youíll be allowed to deploy one in real life...


That's the only instrument I play professionally!

It was my first thought, but even though it's just a Squier I didn't want to risk it leaving any marks on the finish. The pool noodle foam has a new problem now, though -- after a couple weeks under the strings it has deformed so it doesn't really exert any pressure on them any more, so I've got to find something else anyway. Ordered a few different types of foam and will experiment.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:36 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Something that just now occurred to me is that thereís a chance that the foam could have a chemical reaction to the finish. If the bass has a polyester-based finish it wonít be a concern, but you might want to consider placing a thin layer of felt or moleskin between the bottom of the piece of foam and the top.

Both can be found with self-adhesive backings. You can get that green felt in most crafts stores and in the crafts and fabric section of Walmart, and moleskin can be found in well-stocked pharmacies and medical supply stores.

Just a thought - it might not be necessary with the finish on this instrument, but if it turns out to be needed youíll be glad you took care of it.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:50 PM
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schneidan schneidan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Something that just now occurred to me is that thereís a chance that the foam could have a chemical reaction to the finish. If the bass has a polyester-based finish it wonít be a concern, but you might want to consider placing a thin layer of felt or moleskin between the bottom of the piece of foam and the top.



Both can be found with self-adhesive backings. You can get that green felt in most crafts stores and in the crafts and fabric section of Walmart, and moleskin can be found in well-stocked pharmacies and medical supply stores.



Just a thought - it might not be necessary with the finish on this instrument, but if it turns out to be needed youíll be glad you took care of it.



Hope this helps.





Wade Hampton Miller


That's a good thought. I even have some moleskin in my medicine cabinet. Just got a think chunk of firm black foam sold as a kneeling pad in the mail today; I'll see what I can gin up this weekend.
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